LAHORE: Public transporters continue their tactics of fleecing citizens as intercity bus stations witness an influx of passengers due to Eid holidays. Owing to the negligence of transport authorities, a large number of commuters complain about overcharging in intercity public transport fares.
A survey of different intercity bus terminals at Bund Road, on Tuesday, showed that most public transport companies overcharged citizens leaving the provincial capital to celebrate Eidul Azha with their families and loved ones in their hometowns.
A lot of citizens complained that ticket clerks were demanding an additional Rs100 to Rs150 for issuing a confirmed ticket. A citizen trying his luck in a long queue in front of the ticket booth of a private bus terminal, Muhammad Wasi, said buses of almost all transport companies have already been overbooked.
“I have already made two unsuccessful tries at neighbouring bus terminals to grab a ticket for my hometown, Chichawatni. It is really difficult to find a ticket in such a huge rush as all buses are overbooked. Transporters are exploiting the situation by overcharging citizens,” Wasi highlighted.
Another citizen, Rehman Khan, told The Express Tribune that he bought a Lahore-Mardan bus ticket by paying an extra Rs150 to the ticket clerk. “Though it is mandatory, most ticket clerks are demanding additional fare on the pretext of ‘Eidi’, which is not justified by any standard. It is the incompetence and negligence of the government and transport regulator responsible to ensure fair fare,” he maintained.
A passenger accompanied by his family, Hassan Rizvi, also highlighted that he had to pay extra money to book three tickets for his family. “Public transporters are habitual of fleecing citizens during festive days. Now it is the responsibility of the new Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government to rein in these transporters and settle this issue once and for all by imposing heavy penalties. During festive days, passengers have no choice due to huge rush. Either you have to wait for hours at bus terminals or pay some extra money to reach your hometown timely,” he added.
An influx passengers was also seen at the Lahore Railway Station as a large number of citizens left the provincial metropolis for their hometown through trains on Tuesday. Passengers complained about overcharging and poor cleanliness at Lahore Railway Station.
Meanwhile, Lahore Transport Company has issued the operational plan containing necessary instructions to its private transport operators on occasion of Eidul Azha to facilitate the commuters. In accordance with the operational plan during public holidays announced by the Punjab government from August 21 to 23, the LTC would ply full fleet of buses on Tuesday on various urban routes unlike normal days whereas on Wednesday and Thursday the respective transport operators would observe the same schedule of bus operations as per gazetted holidays.
Asides from this, LTC enforcement department and Secretary Regional Transport Authority has jointly constituted special teams at General Bus Stand, Badami Bagh, City Bus Terminal, Niazi Chowk, Jinnah Terminal and Thokar that will proceed against overcharging, non-displaying fare tables on public transport, overloading in public service vehicles particularly on overcrowded spots of city where commuters are standing at intercity bus stands for reaching their native cities to celebrate Eid, therefore in case of overcharging of any complaint, strict action will be taken against violators of public transport laws and fine will be imposed so that commuters do not bear any kind of hassle on Eid.
The Lahore Transport Company is a regulatory body which is entrusted with the mandate to plan, enforce and regulate urban transport and related infrastructure in the metropolis for the provision of safe, affordable and comfortable transport facilities to the general public.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2018.